Pierluigi Collina: the best referee in history
The referee who was feared by all the players.
Referees are generally the least loved characters in the world of football. Before the arrival of VAR, referees did not have the technology to help each other, so a small mistake could change the result completely. An offside goal, a player unfairly sent off, a non-existent penalty, mistakes that existed in the history of football that changed many things. For these reasons, referees were never much loved in this sport. However, there was a referee who earned the respect of the football world, Pierluigi Collina.
His name is Pierluigi Collina, an Italian referee who was named by France Football as the best referee in history. He was even distinguished as the best referee in the world between 1998 and 2005 by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). He is the only referee who was chosen as the cover of a football videogame, Pro Evolution Soccer 3. Imagine, seeing a referee on the cover of the FIFA 23 video game sounds crazy, doesn't it?
The reason why this referee was so respected is due to his personality. While doing the referee course, he was forced to do military service and thanks to that, he hardened his character and became a more disciplined person. He was never afraid to face a player nor was he intimidated by the insults of the public. At that age, he also developed a severe form of alopecia, which resulted in the permanent loss of all his facial hair, giving him his distinctive bald appearance and earning him the nickname Kojak.
But Pierluigi not only had an intimidating character, but he also had a great talent for refereeing matches. That, added to his handling of 4 languages (Italian, French, Spanish and English), led him to lead international matches of great importance. For example, he refereed in the 1996 Olympic Games final, participated in the 1998 World Cup, 1999 Champions League Final, Euro 2000 and his most important role, he refereed the 2002 World Cup Final. That day, he refereed perfectly and earned the audience's applause.
After his retirement, Pierluigi Collina began working for UEFA and FIFA as president of the refereeing committee, showing himself in favor of the VAR system for the 2018 World Cup. After the World Cup, he resigned from his job and decided to leave football for good. A well-deserved break for the referee who made history.